Some years, I struggle to find my word. It can be a journey of listening and waiting and trying to figure out what word feels right. That was not me this year! Back in November, it popped into my mind one day when I was walking my dogs that I would need to start thinking about a word. My brain started bouncing around, as it tends to do, and about four minutes later, the word "Unashamed" crashed into my head. The second it came, I knew that was it.
I don't know whether you are familiar with The Enneagram but it is a personality typing system that several of my favourite writers/podcasters have embraced and it has made me curious. I've done some reading and I am 99.999% sure that I am a type 3. While I don't desire to be a leader, I have the overwhelming feeling much of the time that I am not good enough and I am always working VERY hard, not to be the best but because I am terrified of being judged to be a failure. I hate having my photo taken because I can't standing seeing pictures of myself. At work, unless I have gotten positive feedback in the last five minutes, I am trying harder because I feel like I am not doing a good enough job. Now that the kids are getting older, every time someone boast to me about their children for any reason, I start to feel like we are the failures. Pk has had some challenges in school over the last few years and we finally got testing done this fall and it turns out that she has a learning disability and is incredibly smart, so while she is as bright, if not brighter than most of the kids around her, she isn't doing terribly well in school because of a couple of things that hold her back and make it really challenging for her. That has been something that has been really challenging for me because, as someone who wants to be thought of as nice and kind and supportive, having to fight back with the school to get her help has meant having to be "that parent" and it makes me sick to think that people are thinking badly of me. Our house is small in a town of big houses, our cars are old and we don't go on fancy vacations. The crazy thing is, I don't want the big house or the fancy car but I do want to learn how not to feel like we are second class because we don't have them.
The funny thing is, knowing that I am created as God made me and that these material things and opinions of other people don't matter, makes it all worse. I feel guilty because I care about these shallow things and I let them hold me back and make be ashamed. On top of it all, I feel guilty because it just proves that I am failure at accepting God's grace and love, as well.
So, onto 2017. I am going to try (there, trying to avoid failure again, if I don't say it will happen for sure, I don't fail as badly if it doesn't) to accept the gift of God's grace. I am going to try to stop the comparisons. I am going to count my blessings, honour the gifts in my life and stop listening to the voices of approval (or disapproval). I am going to work to be who I am regardless of whether that makes me "good enough." I am going to work really, really, really hard to communicate to my children that they are good enough, not because I say so or that they are getting good marks but because as children of God, they already ARE good enough. I am going to work to make choices to honour myself as the person I am and not to try to numb my feelings with food and caffeine and Facebook status "likes". I am going to work to rediscover who I am and do something that affirms who I am and what I love each day. It won't be easy but I can't wait to try.
I have a few specific goals:
1. Pray every morning to start each day with a vision of myself as God's daughter.
2. Make sound financial decisions and cut the impulse spending so that I don't need to feel guilty about the way I am using my money.
3. Study a scripture passage each week that has some relevance to who I am and what I am.
4. Keep a gratitude journal and savour being who God intended me to be.
5. Make some time to do something each day that speaks to who I am and affirms me.
6. Cut back on social media, especially Facebook.
There may be other things that I adopt as the year goes on but it's nice to feel as though I have a plan to get started.
I am looking forward to reading about other people's journeys with a word this year!